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Fatherhood means Being There for your Children

Updated on June 18, 2010
photo by Rex courtesy of the
photo by Rex courtesy of the

As we approach father’s day, we tend to think of the typical pretty, happy family picture that is featured on most father’s day cards. We often see the family picture that is considered ideal by most greeting card companies, the photo with daddy hugging his wife and embracing his children warmly, unfortunately, that is not the whole truth, or even accurate.

With the divorce rate the way it is and the increase single parent households, the traditional family is for some, a distant memory, or a forgotten ideal. I wonder do all fathers really know their children. I once met a young man who had only spoken with his father once in his life. The young man was twelve and he had only seen his father once in his whole lifetime. I wasn’t related to him and yet, my family and I knew him better than his own father did. This was a wonderful young man, who didn’t deserve that kind of pain.

When a father abandons his children does he stop to think about their future? Who will fill his shoes? Does he worry that his child will not only have abandonment issues, but may be the victims of abuse as well? Many cases of child abuse are from men that are not the child’s father, in other words, the stepfather. By this I’m not implying that there are not some great men, who have taken over for an absent father and have done the job of being a wonderful step dad. It is good to know such men exist.

When men are busy with their affairs and the other occupations, allowing them little or no time with their children, do they wonder which direction that little life is headed in? Fathers do you know your children as individuals? Do you know your children’s dreams, their thoughts on life, and how they need for their father to show them he cares? Oh, I know there are many excuses. I have to work many hours, I’m tiered during my free time, etc, etc. I don’t agree with these excuses, being a good father is a choice. There is really no excuse for not being there for your children.

Video YouTube by Flashingfly

Video YouTube by Wishingbone

I remember seeing The Pursuit of Happiness not too long ago, which portrayed an example of a truly committed father. Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) had every reason to fail his child. He had no job, no money, no home, no one to help him and barely any time, he lived running. He had to do the impossible just to be able to pick up his son, Christopher (played by Jaden Smith) from the nursery and get to the homeless shelter, in time after a hard day of training at a competitive stock broker training program. Through this grueling test of character he never once abandoned his son.

There is a scene in this movie where you can see the effect this has on his son. In the homeless shelter after a rough day, his son turns to him and says “You’re a good papa.” Even a four year old child knows the difference between a good and bad father. He didn’t have any material possessions to give his son at that time, not even shelter, but he gave the one thing a child needs most and that is the gift of himself, the gift of being there for his son.

You might say, “Oh I work long hours so I can give my children the best.” If that is true, then why are there so many messed up children going to prep schools and driving BMWs. Chris Gardner did not get that response from his son, because he gave his son material possessions, no, he showed his son, that he loved him. He made a commitment to love his son. At the beginning of the movie he says the following about his own upbringing: “I met my father for the first time when I was 28 years old. I made up my mind that when I had children, my children were going to know who their father was.”

Chris Gardner kept his commitment to his son. Being a good father is a choice, like everything else in life. It’s not easy being a good father, it means sacrifice. Sometimes marriages fail, but remember a man divorces his wife, not his children. There is no excuse for missing visitation day. Unless you're in the emergency ward, there is no excuse.

Remember, being a father is not just a biological event, it is responsibility. Father’s day is more than just cards and gifts; it is remembering that fathers are needed in their children’s life. Honor father’s day and be the father that you know you can be.


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    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 7 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks for your comment and I do agree with you, laws are in favor of the woman having custody. I have a friend who is an excellent father, and who is a victim of these types of laws. What I was trying to emphasize is that some men even though they do have the opportunity to be closer to their children often fail to make the necessary effort. I guess it depends on the situation.

    • profile image

      Jay 7 years ago

      The law is lopsided towards custody to the mother. Many fathers would like a more prominent role, but cannot due to custody laws. This is the reality of today's courts and 'civilized' society.